Psychological Self-Help

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48
naturally she would be jealous of anything that took his time--his work, his friends,
his interests, etc. She was too insecure and too "perfect" to confront him, but
eventually the jealousy may burst through, especially if she imagined another
woman was involved. Once a jealous rage has occurred, it tended to reoccur. If he
was innocent, it would be hard for him to persuade her that her suspicions were
groundless. If she found out there is another woman, she was crushed. She felt
betrayed, lost, scared, worthless, and angry. She might decide that all men are no
good or she might look for another one who desires her. Women are changing but
any woman over 40 can remember those times. (Divorce is discussed in chapter 10.) 
Husbands can become angry, threatened, and jealous too. An insecure male may
become dependent on his wife's adoration. She makes him feel good about himself.
He may want her to "stay home" (feeling fearful that other men in the work place
might take an interest in her). He may be jealous of anyone or anything that gets
her attention. Tragically, that sometimes includes their own first born child. The man
may be ashamed to admit feeling resentful of his own child. Yet, he feels left out and
betrayed; the wife is bewildered and unable to relieve his pain because the problem
is inside him--his self-doubt (Fullerton, 1977). Men still want to be in control; they
haven't changed as much as women have since the 1970's. This causes more
problems--girls/women are becoming more independent, boys/men are remaining
dependent, tough, macho, and violent. Our culture is still inclined to say, "Boys will
be boys." Male possessiveness, dominance, and violence have continued into the 21st
century. Statistics will testify to the suffering caused by the remaining male
dominance and unfairness that takes place even in progressive countries. The
atrocious violence and degradation that women continue to experience in male-
dominated countries is much worse and intolerable (Chesler, 2005).
In some families the frustration experienced by marital conflict is denied but gets
expressed against another family member, often the oldest or the second child. This
displaced hostility is very harmful to the child since he or she has no way of dealing
with it (since the child has no control over the real source of the anger). The child
may be accused of bad traits a parent has (projection) or of bad traits one parent
resents in the other partner. For example, if the wife feels the husband is a liar and a
cheat, she may accuse the son of these traits and ask her husband to punish the son
(indirectly letting the husband know how much she resents those traits). The
husband's shame may get turned into self-righteous wrath towards the son. The
parental expectations of the son to be dishonest may also become self-fulfilling
prophecies, with the son saying to himself "if they never believe me anyhow, I might
as well lie." 
No one expects his/her marriage to be like this. And, in fact, the problems of a
two-career marriage without children would be quite different. But, even though
financially better off, the dual-career family has its own unique problems. 
Dealing with the “intimate enemy”
Like scapegoating, many marital or lovers' quarrels serve the purpose of
concealing the real conflict. Arguments over money may really be about who has the
most power or about not getting enough attention or recognition. In the last section
of this chapter we will learn about the possibility of honest, open "fair fighting" with
The Intimate Enemy (your spouse), according to Bach and Wyden (1968). This kind
of "fighting" can confront us with the truth, stripping away phoniness and deception,
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